The Metropolitan Opera Rising Stars Concert Series Set for MPAC, 4/2

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Four up-and-coming opera singers will showcase their talents as The Metropolitan Opera Rising Stars Concert Series comes to Mayo Performing Arts Center on Saturday, April 2, 2016 at 8 PM. Tickets are $29 - $59.

The program will feature Adam Diegel, Amanda Woodbury, Brent Funderburk, Sarah Mesko, and Trevor Scheunemann.

For more than 125 years, the Metropolitan Opera has been the artistic home of the greatest singers in the world. But the Met is also the launching pad for the opera stars of the future. Enjoy these performances by the next generation of opera stars as they perform selections from the world's most beloved operas.

Adam Diegel regularly earns international acclaim for his impassioned dramatic sensibilities, powerful voice, and for his classic leading man looks. From a performance as Cavaradossi at Glimmerglass Opera, Opera News raved: "The opera became a showdown between Adam Diegel's impulsive, shaggily handsome Cavaradossi and Lester Lynch's fearsome, animalistic Scarpia. (Diegel's) spacious, Italianate tenor.delivered a stirring 'Recondita armonia' and built 'E lucevan le stelle' masterfully from hushed intimacy to an unfettered cri de coeur." This season, Diegel's engagements include appearances in two of his signature roles: as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly at Opera San Antonio, and Don José in Carmen at Arizona Opera. Additionally, Diegel will sing the title role in Verdi's Don Carlo in a début at Lithuanian National Opera. Next season, Diegel will return to the Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Diegel made his Metropolitan Opera début as Froh in Robert Lepage's landmark production of Das Rheingold conducted by Maestro James Levine, and later reprised the performance under Fabio Luisi. Further appearances at the Met include Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly under Plácido Domingo and Ismaele in Nabucco under Paolo Carignani. Also in demand overseas, Diegel collects accolades from critics in Europe, Asia, and Australia. Of his performance in Carmen at English National Opera, The Guardian wrote: "The American Adam Diegel as José, tall and sturdy, looked the part of Carmen's latest love victim and conveyed perfectly the pent-up anger of a feckless man who - we know from the original Merimée novel, but not the libretto - has already committed a murder.Diegel rose to the challenges of Acts III and IV." Other international appearances include: Don José in Carmen at English National Opera and in a new production at Opera Australia's Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour; Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Lithuanian National Opera, The Savonlinna Opera Festival, and on tour in China at the Guangzhous Opera House in Anthony Minghella's acclaimed production; Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur at The National Theatre in Budapest, where he later performed Cavaradossi in Tosca; and David Alden's new production of Luisa Miller for Opéra National de Lyon. Diegel holds degrees from Yale University and University of Memphis.

Amanda Woodbury is an alumna of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. Ms. Woodbury was most recently honored with the second place award and an Audience Choice award in Plácido Domingo's prestigious Operalia competition. She also won the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the 2014 Sarah Tucker Study Grant, and both second place and Audience Choice awards at Houston Grand Opera's Eleanor McCollum Competition. Other awards include second place in the Dallas Opera Vocal Competition in 2010 and 2012. Ms. Woodbury made her Los Angeles Opera debut in 2013 as Micaëla in Carmen, with subsequent appearances there as Papagena in Die Zauberflöte. She made her Cincinnati May Festival debut this year under the baton of James Conlon, singing the Mater Gloriosa in Mahler's Eighth Symphony. This past summer, she performed Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni with the Merola Opera Program. Other recent performances include Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi at the Aspen Music Festival. This season, Ms. Woodbury performed the soprano solo in Beethoven's Choral Fantasy with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, followed by Carmina Burana with the Lexington Philharmonic. She then joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera, where she covered the roles of Antonia and Stella in their production of Les Contes d'Hoffmann and where she will also perform the role of Tebaldo in Don Carlo. She returned to the Cincinnati May Festival with Maestro Conlon to sing Haydn's Creation. She will make her role and house debut performing Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Des Moines Opera. She is also engaged to perform Musetta in La Bohème with the Los Angeles Opera, as well as Leïla in Les Pêcheurs de Perles with the Metropolitan Opera. Ms. Woodbury completed her Master's Degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Cincinnati College - Conservatory of Music in 2012, and she received her Bachelor of Music Degree at Indiana University. Roles performed while at both universities included Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Madame Lidoine in Dialogues of the Carmelites, the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, and the First Lady in Die Zauberflöte. Prior to her graduation, Ms. Woodbury also was a studio artist with Opera North in 2010, where she performed scenes from Rossini's La Cenerentola (Cinderella) and Puccini's Edgar.

Praised by the New York Times as an "excellent pianist," South Carolina native Brent Funderburk has partnered world-class singers and instrumentalists in concert and on recording. He has garnered respect as a distinguished recitalist and vocal coach in New York City.
Mr. Funderburk has participated in many renowned summer programs and festivals including Ravinia's Steans Music Institute, where he returned as a resident pianist in the 2015 Program for Singers. Other recent summer engagements include the International Vocal Arts Institute (IVAI) in Virginia and SongFest at Pepperdine. He is a recipient of the Margo Garrett and Marc and Eva Stern Fellowships along with the prestigious Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. In the realm of art song, Mr. Funderburk has made many notable appearances, including a recent performance in the Marilyn Horne Song Celebration at Zankel Hall. He has collaborated with rising young artists as part of The Song Continues at Carnegie Hall. His long-running collaboration with mezzo-soprano Naomi O'Connell has led to many U.S. recital appearances under the auspices of Concert Artists Guild, as well as radio broadcasts on New York's WQXR as part of The McGraw-Hill Companies' Young Artist Showcase. Mr. Funderburk has also appeared in recitals at Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, Symphony Space and the Ravinia Festival, among others.Also known for his instrumental collaborations, Mr. Funderburk has maintained an active schedule with violinist Francesca Anderegg. The duo has performed at many U.S. venues, including the Chicago Cultural Center as part of the International Music Foundation's Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert series. They have been featured on WQXR, Chicago's WFMT, and MPR (Minnesota Public Radio). Recording credits include a debut release with Ms. Anderegg under the Albany label.
Mr. Funderburk is on staff of the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at The Juilliard School, where he received his Master's degree in Collaborative Piano under the tutelage of Brian Zeger, Margo Garrett, and Jonathan Feldman.

Sarah Mesko begins the 2015-2016 season with her role debut as Carmen at Washington National Opera in the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist performance. She will also cover Malcolm in La donna del Lago at the Metropolitan Opera. In concert, she will appear with the Columbus Symphony in Alexander Nevsky and with Mercury Baroque in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Recently, Ms. Mesko debuted at the Glimmerglass Festival in Vivaldi's Catone in Utica to great acclaim. She was seen at Washington National Opera as the Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte and made her debut at Houston Grand Opera as Mrs. Segstrom in A Little Night Music. In concert, she appeared with the Bach Society of Houston as well as Mercury Baroque in Houston. As a member of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, Ms. Mesko's appearances with Washington National Opera include Alisa in David Alden's production of Lucia di Lammermoor, a striking role debut as Dorabella with Washington National Opera in their Emerging Artist performances of Così fan tutte, and her role debut as Hansel. In 2011 she made her debut in Madama Butterfly, first as Kate Pinkerton and then in a highly acclaimed role debut as Suzuki, conducted by Plácido Domingo in a Young Artist performance. The Washington Post remembered her as "the best part of the Young Artist Program performance of Madama Butterfly last year." In 2009, Ms. Mesko was a national finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, performing with the Met Orchestra under Patrick Summers. She is also among a rare number of singers who have won the Richard F. Gold Career Grant more than once: in 2011 from Washington National Opera and in 2009 from Central City Opera.

In the 2015-2016 season, Trevor Scheunemann will make his Atlanta Opera debut as Marcello in La Bohème. Last season he played Marcello at the Washington National Opera in a new production of La Bohème. He returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Morales in Carmen and Silvano in Un Ballo in Maschera. In the summer of 2015, Mr. Scheunemann debuted at Teatro Municipal de Santiago as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly. He also debuted in Orff's Carmina Burana and in Bernstein's A Quiet Place with the Montreal Symphony and Kent Nagano. In recent seasons, he appeared at Opéra de Monte Carlo in his role debut as Donner in Das Rheingold, Belcore in L'Elisir d'Amore with Baltimore Concert Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera as Silvano in the new production of Un Ballo in Maschera under Fabio Luisi, which became a MET HD broadcast. Mr. Scheunemann played the debut role of Joe in the world premiere of Heart of a Soldier at the San Francisco Opera. Additionally, he debuted at Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly to great acclaim and Opéra National de Bordeaux as Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro. Additional performances include Schaunard in La Bohème and Sid in La Fanciulla del West at the Metropolitan Opera, Count in Le Nozze di Figaro at San Francisco Opera under Nicola Luisotti, the world premiere of Die Marquise von O by René Koering at Opéra de Monte Carlo, Zurga in Les Pêcheurs de Perles and Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro at Washington National Opera, Morales in the new production of Carmen conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the Metropolitan Opera, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte at Oper Frankfurt, Rameau's Dardanus with Emmanuelle Haïm at Opéra de Lille, San Francisco Opera debut as Jake Wallace in La Fanciulla del West conducted by Nicola Luisotti, Melot in Tristan und Isolde and Robert Carsen's L'incoronazione di Poppea conducted by Emmanuelle Haïm at the Glyndebourne Festival, and his Metropolitan Opera debut as Curio in Giulio Cesare. Trevor Scheunemann is an alumnus of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at the Washington National Opera.

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